Thursday, October 28, 2010

Day Five

I had breakfast at the usual joint. It is a hole in the wall place. The menu is on the wall between the eating-place and the kitchen. The menu covers the whole wall. For a small place the menu is quite varied. I have not had the courage to try the entire menu yet.
Hey your bank balance is larger than mine
How did that happen?

I went to the bank to see if my account was open and if the traveler’s checks had cashed. It took me only 45 minutes to walk out with forty bills of one thousand rupees each. Wow I am rich! I had almost one thousand dollars in my pocket.

While at the bank, their version of a Brinks truck arrived. Out came two young men holding what looked like shotguns. Then came two other men carrying a large trunk which could have been the original trunk used sometime in WWII by the British, in the deserts of Egypt to carry cash.

I wanted to show how it is done, in India, to Brian the Banker. So I took some photos, sitting behind the cashier, as he is handing out cash to the customers. Security is so lax here that I could have easily taken a video of him punching in his password on the computer. I could see the balances of his customers. But that is no big deal. Anyone expecting privacy should stay out of banks. To see more photos of the bank and the Indian Brinks, click here.

Banerjee came in at about 11:00 AM in his official car. Wow, it was impressive. An old Ambassador! With emergency lights, curtains in the windows, and a smartly dressed chauffer. Everybody around the parking lot became silent and watched. It was like royalty coming in.  We drove to the Dean’s office about 75 yards away! Banerjee told me that his official driver feels bad if he does not use his car. But I think Banerjee just wanted to impress me! He was successful.

The Dean of the medical school is a big man! He was very polite and asked me what I wanted to teach. I told him about my interest in medical law and ethics. He said he would schedule a meeting of the people in charge of the teaching program and who would listen to my proposal. Since Dewali is coming and everyone is in a holiday mood we set up the meeting for the week after Dewali.

We walked over to the hospital stopping in the Nursing School dorm on the way. Banerjee is principal of the school, by default as he says. The nursing program is four years, including one year of internship. Three girls were waiting for us. The leader of gang was Deepti. Banerjee said she was the head of the hostel. I told her she could not be head of anything since she was only forty kilogram (about eighty pounds). She corrected me, “I am forty-two kg”.

We inspected the kitchen. The girls were complaining of inadequate staffing in the kitchen and lack of equipment in kitchen, game room and TV room. The whole place was so bare, I felt like I should buy them something. Reminded me of a movie I saw about Gestapo prisons. The kitchen in the movie was better equipped.

The girls were a lively bunch of giggling and happy girls. Since out of six kitchen employees, only one was available, they had prepared the meal themselves. They wanted us to eat there. We had just eaten so we passed on it. My camera gave me an error message and refused to take photos. I was so annoyed, that I could not take any photos of the place and people. Maybe I will go there tomorrow and take some photos.

Later on I met Dr. S D Sharma, who is in charge of quality improvement at the hospital. He is very sincere young man who wants to make a difference. He is holding a training seminar in two weeks for about thirty others, teaching them about quality improvement. The hospital is trying to get accreditation by a national quality control group, something like Joint Accreditation of USA. I am going to participate in the panel talking about the some of the process, as it happens in USA.

Evening was spent with a friend of friend, Prabhat Singh, who is going to be my golf buddy here. Again I tried to blend in!


  1. That car looks awesome. Also I am glad that you have found a golf buddy he probably won't be as awesome as I am at golf, but then again few people are.

  2. Wow those pictures of the van/truck that they use and the chest they use to carry the banks money in is crazy. And I like how it is just two guys smiling and carrying the money with no signs of having weapons or body armor on like the guards here have.

  3. These two guys had two other guys guarding them. So what are you worried about? :) The shotguns they had probably were not loaded anyway!